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Sargento expanding in Hilbert again

Sargento in Hilbert, seen October 23, 2017. (WLUK/Ben Krumholz)

HILBERT (WLUK) -- For a fourth time in the past decade, Sargento Foods is growing in Hilbert.

The cheesemaker is adding 150 jobs.

“We are expanding because people fortunately love natural cheese and they love natural cheese snacks,” said Portia Young, Director of Corporate Communications for Sargento Foods. “They love natural cheese slices and that is what we do here at Sargento.”

Based out of Plymouth, Sargento has more than 1,900 total employees and net sales exceeding $1.3 billion. In 2008, its Hilbert location had 53 employees. Now it has 300. A 40,000 square foot addition will bring that number to about 450.

“A lot of people like to snack instead of just eating meals right now, so we're really capitalizing on that trend and our innovative products are speaking to that trend and trying to meet that consumer need,” said Young.

Sargento reports the starting pay rate for a general labor position is $18.45 an hour, with health benefits after 30 days of work.

“It's been huge,” said Dennis DuPrey, Hilbert’s administrator, treasurer, and clerk. “They've been a great employer in the village. They've been a great supporter of the village through donations, things like that.”

Village officials say they've seen a trickle-down effect from the previous expansions. They say a plan is already in the works to accommodate more people coming to work in Hilbert.

“Houses that have been going up for sale have been selling fairly fast,” said DuPrey. “The village actually purchased 50 acres of land directly across the road from Sargento. That's going to be a residential development area.”

“We know that there is great talent in this community, not only in Hilbert, but also in the Fox Valley that we can draw from,’ said Young.

The goal is for the addition to be complete next summer.

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